18 November 2019
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624 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     616 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

06.11.2019

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Republic of Burundi Ezechiel Nibigira, Moscow, November 5, 2019

Good afternoon,

The meeting with my Burundian colleague Ezechiel Nibigira took place in a warm and friendly atmosphere. We enjoy friendly relations based on the principles of international law, respect for mutual interests and deep historical sympathy that our peoples have for each other.

We praised the positive dynamics of our trade and economic relations. The figures are not too impressive yet, but they show significant growth: more than four-fold in the past three years. This corresponds to our mutual intent to bring our mutually beneficial business partnership to a new level, and today we have reaffirmed that. We have recently managed to launch an entire series of successful joint projects in manufacturing, mining and agriculture. Several Russian companies are operating in Burundi. In turn, a shop selling Burundian tea and coffee opened in Russia and is doing very well. We also agreed to maintain direct contacts between our business communities. The most promising areas of cooperation are interregional cooperation; in particular, there are good plans to develop an entire range of joint projects in Burundi involving the Republic of Mordovia.

Our Burundian colleagues have informed us about the steps taken by the country’s government in order to finally put an end to the existing domestic difficulties and about the preparations for the general elections, which will take place in May 2020.

In turn, we confirmed our steadfast position on respecting the sovereignty of Burundi. We believe it is inadmissible to interfere in the domestic affairs of this African country, and we confirmed that this will be our position when discussing issues related to the developments in Burundi at the UN, including its Security Council.

We talked a lot about cultural ties. Both sides praised the training of Burundian specialists at Russian universities. Including the Soviet era, over 4,500 Burundians have received education in Russia in total. Today, about 120 Burundians are studying humanitarian disciplines. Dozens of Burundians are studying at universities under the Defence Ministry, Interior Ministry and at courses under the Federal Security Service.

We also agreed to continue to offer internships for Burundian diplomats at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy at the expense of Russia next year. In addition, next year new experts will be able to apply for corresponding courses. Today Mr Minister will have a meeting with Rector of the Diplomatic Academy Alexander Yakovenko.

We discussed the prospects for another new venture, the establishment of a National Crisis Management Centre in Burundi. We have received such request from Gitega’s officials. We have agreed to get down to this issue, to the practical parts of it, with the Russian Interior Ministry and the International Civil Defence Organisation.

We praised the results of the first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi on October 23–24. We are happy that our Burundian friends, as well as our other colleagues from which we received feedback, liked the organisation, details and results of this event.

We agreed to promote the implementation of the documents signed by Russia and the African Union, the Eurasian Economic Commission and the African Union Commission, thus adding new details to the comprehensive ties between Russia and Africa.

We discussed regional and international affairs. We have spoken in favour of the further development of cooperation with the UN and other countries to ensure compliance with the UN Charter and principles, including the unacceptability of interfering in others’ domestic affairs and respect for people’s right to choose their own path and model for development.

Burundi traditionally cosponsors the Russian Federation’s key initiatives at the UN General Assembly, including such documents as the unacceptability of glorifying Nazism, those on not placing weapons in outer space, the promotion of transparency and confidence-building measures in space and international information security.

Today we agreed to support the approval of a resolution on the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II including an official meeting in New York in May 2020 at the UN General Assembly session.

We also exchanged opinions on collaboration at UN human-rights agencies. We expressed a common position here: We need to review specific cases without trying to politicise them or use the subject of human rights for interfering in the domestic affairs of sovereign states.

I would also like to note the following important fact. Today we confirmed the close coordination of our work at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to prevent attempts by some of our Western partners to erode the fundamental consensus-based foundations of this Convention, that have been manifested in the past 12 months, and to try and impose non-consensus approaches in the area of eliminating chemical weapons and ensuring complete chemical disarmament, and this runs counter to the letter and spirit of the Convention itself.

We also discussed many issues facing the African countries. Russia invariably proceeds from the need to respect the opinions of the Africans themselves and to draft approaches towards resolving various crises. This is how we will continue to approach the UN Security Council while discussing various hotspots on the African continent, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the entire African Great Lakes region, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Mali.

Today, we discussed a Somalia peace settlement in great detail, and we praised the position of Burundi on this issue. I would like to note that over 4,000 peacekeepers from Burundi are serving in a proper manner with the African Union’s mission in Somalia. This is a substantial contribution to stabilising this important country, which is still torn apart by domestic disputes, and where terrorists, including organisations like Al-Shabaab, continue to consolidate their positions. 

On the whole, I consider these talks to be very useful. I hope we will continue to make headway on the matters we discussed today for the benefit of our relations, countries and people.

Question (addressed to both ministers): The Burundian Minister of Public Security and Disaster Management recently spoke about the need for Russia and Burundi to exchange intelligence data on members of illegal armed groups. Does Burundi plan to join the FSB database of foreign terrorist fighters? Will Russia and the CSTO expand counterterrorism ties with Burundi?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Ezechiel Nibigira): Russia is interested in developing counterterrorism cooperation with all countries, including those in Africa. As I have said, we train foreign security personnel at the special centre of the Federal Security Service (FSB), including for the Burundian Ministry of Public Security. Today we discussed the FSB’s [International Counterterrorism] Database, which can be used to track foreign terrorist fighters in real time. Some 50 countries and international organisations, including Interpol, have access to it. We will provide our Burundian friends with materials from which they can learn how they can join this important international mechanism.

Question (addressed to Ezechiel Nibigira): The Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi raised some Western countries’ apprehensions concerning the full-scale return of Russia to Africa. One of the irritants is military technical cooperation. Mr Minister, what can you tell us about this?

Sergey Lavrov (adding after Ezechiel Nibigira): Those who are concerned about relations between other countries are prisoners of a neo-colonial mentality, when huge continents were considered certain countries’ domain that other countries were not allowed to enter. But all this has changed. Next year we will mark the 60th anniversary of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1960. This Declaration has created modern Africa and modern independent African countries. The Declaration was co-initiated and co-authored by the Soviet Union. African countries remember who made a great contribution to their independence and liberation from the colonial yoke, and just as importantly, helped them acquire the basic foundations of statehood, such as security forces and basic national industries.

Therefore, I see no legal or moral reason for anyone to be worried if we and our African colleagues want to strengthen our cooperation.

Question: Some foreign media have reported that Russia and the United States have signed secret agreements on the northeastern regions of Syria and that the Russian military is allegedly entering the areas that US troops are leaving. Can you comment on this?

Sergey Lavrov: Frankly, I do not think that any agreement with the United States is possible today. I see no reason to look for secret motivations in the plans that were coordinated during the talks in Sochi between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in October. The memorandum they adopted is a perfectly clear document. All of the provisions are being implemented. As for the United States, first it said it would pull out of Syria. Then it said it was returning. And tomorrow it may again announce a withdrawal. It would be unconstructive and counterproductive to try to coordinate a long-term policy of normalising Syria and rebuilding its sovereignty and territorial integrity while keeping an eye on the inconsistent actions of a country that maintains its presence in Syria illegally in violation of international law.

I would like to point out again that the memorandum that President Putin and President Erdogan approved in Sochi is being implemented. The Russian military is working in close contact with the Syrian Army in a 30-kilometre buffer zone, from which the Kurdish self-defence forces have pulled back. The Russian military police and their Turkish colleagues are patrolling a 10-kilomere border line in the 30-kilometre buffer zone.




LATEST EVENTS

13.11.2019 - Article by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the media of the BRICS countries "BRICS Strategic Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth", November 12, 2019

On November 13–14, 2019, Brasilia will host the 11th BRICS Summit. In the run-up to this key event of the year for our group I would like to share Russia's vision of the BRICS strategic partnership. The current Brazilian BRICS Chairmanship managed to achieve serious progress in all main pillars of cooperation – political, economic and humanitarian. Russia supports its Brazilian friends in their efforts to improve the practical impact of our multifaceted interaction on the prosperity of our States and peoples.


13.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Masterclass working session held as part of the 2019 Paris Peace Forum, Paris, November 12, 2019

Thank you for coming to this panel. For the sake of time, my introductory remarks will be brief.


12.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during a joint news conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Yerevan, November 11, 2019

Mr Mnatsakanyan, First of all, I would like thank our Armenian friends for the invitation on behalf of my delegation and myself, for the very cordial welcome and substantive negotiations that began today with a meeting with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and continued at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


01.11.2019 - Permanent Representative of Russia to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich’s interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, October 29, 2019

Question: Mr Lukashevich, I would like to start with a difficult question. The people seldom understand the role and importance of such institutions as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). They believe that it is all talk and little action, apart from that of the adoption of resolutions. This is partly true. Are there too many international organisations that are hardly having any influence on realities? And it also costs a fortune to maintain them.


01.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, Moscow, October 31, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, We have held constructive, substantive and very detailed talks with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger. This is his second visit to Moscow this year. We welcome the regular nature of our contacts.


01.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at talks with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, Moscow, October 31, 2019

Mr Secretary General, my dear Thomas, Colleagues, We are delighted that you have come to Russia again. We reaffirm our support for your efforts to enhance the efficiency of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). We see that your team is really focused on formulating a unifying agenda of the organisation and on restoring trust between the member states which has been seriously undermined.


29.10.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article about Yevgeny Primakov from the book titled The Unknown Primakov: Memoirs, published in Russian Business Guide, October 2019

Of special importance for us diplomats was the period in Yevgeny Primakov’s life when he was our foreign minister. His appointment to Smolenskaya Square marked a turning point in the country’s foreign policy when conditions were created for the restoration of Russia’s international standing. Primakov knew better than many others that its unique geographical location and centuries-long history, as well as its huge potential and its status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, predetermined its independent and multi-directional foreign policy.


24.10.2019 - Sergey Lavrov’s article for the Aftenposten daily, Norway, Russia-Norway Relations: A Common Past and a Pragmatic Future, 23 October 2019

At the moment, Norway is celebrating the liberation of East-Finnmark from Nazi occupation. We honour the feat of valour committed by the Soviet soldiers, participants in the resistance movement and partisans, who drove the Nazi occupation forces from the Norwegian land 75 years ago.


23.10.2019 - Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko’s interview with Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, October 22, 2019

Question: Ukraine is not implementing the Steinmeier formula despite having signed it. Will a Normandy format summit be held if this does not happen, if there is no disengagement of forces? Is it realistic to conduct this summit in November? Will the sides manage to draft all the terms in time? Andrey Rudenko: Russia said more than once that the full implementation of the agreements of the previous summits which were held in Paris and Berlin in 2015−2016 should be a prerequisite of the Normandy format meeting. This primarily applies to the documentation of the Steinmeier formula and the disengagement of forces and hardware in three regions (Zolotoye, Petrovskoye and Stanitsa Luganskaya) on the contact line. In addition to this, a new summit should clearly formulate further steps on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.


22.10.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during a joint news conference following talks with Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, Moscow, October 21, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, We have held detailed talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Ekaterina Zaharieva. It is symbolic that this is our Bulgarian colleague’s first visit to Russia and that it has taken place this year, which marks the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries.



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